Improving recovery from spinal cord injuries: $3.7 million grant will create rehabilitation network

Each year, nearly 11,000 Americans suffer disabling spinal cord injuries, the majority of whom are young and active adults. According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, these injuries often result in partial or total paralysis and cost patients millions of dollars in rehabilitation therapies and other medical care.

A new $3.7 million grant from the National Institutes of Health awarded to GUMC will help improve outcomes for individuals with these kinds of injuries by creating an interdisciplinary research network in spinal cord injury and rehabilitation throughout the Washington, DC region. Called the National Capital Area Rehabilitation Network (NCARRN), this five-year grant will fund one of only six similar NIH-funded programs in the country and will bring together outstanding programs at area universities and hospitals in both basic science and clinical research to provide improved and more comprehensive care to patients in the District of Columbia.

"By bringing together strong researchers and clinicians experienced in rehabilitation delivery, our work truly represents the paradigm of translational research," said Barbara Bregman, PhD, PT, principal investigator of the grant and professor of neuroscience at Georgetown University Medical Center. "This comprehensive network will also strengthen Washington's position as one of the leading areas in the country for spinal cord injury research and care."

Because NCARRN will have a unique dual focus on research and clinical care, investigators from different disciplines and institutions will work together to understand the neural mechanisms underlying rehabilitation, as well as design and implement applications to maximize recovery and improve quality of life. Other institutions involved in the DC network currently include MedStar Health's National Rehabilitation Hospital and the Catholic University of America.

The network will be primarily housed at the National Reha

Contact: Liz McDonald
Georgetown University Medical Center

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